Last year, three states in the Northeast — New Jersey, New York and Connecticut — landed in the top five places people were moving out of fastest, according to 2017 data from United Van Lines. (The other two states on the list were Illinois and Kansas.) And data from Pew Charitable Trusts found that while people are all about moving to the South (their population grew by nearly 1.4 million people from 2014 to 2015) and the West (866,000 more people), the population growth in the Northeast is “sluggish.”
The Northeastern exodus is particularly acute in many big cities like New York City. Since 2010, more than 1 million people have moved from the New York area — which includes parts of New Jersey, Connecticut and Long Island — to other parts of the country.
So why are so many Northerners packing their bags?
The insanely high cost
Data released on Wednesday by personal finance site GoBankingRates.com reveals that the No. 1 financial fear of people who live in the Northeast is that they will have to live in debt forever; the Northeast is the only region of the country that ranked this as No. 1. (The other regions put retirement as their No. 1.)
And no wonder they’re worried. The cost of living across the region is among the highest in the nation and three of the five most expensive states or districts in the country (New York, Washington, DC, Massachusetts) are in the area. (The other two states are Hawaii and California.) Having to spend so much just to get by can make getting out of debt seem much harder. And housing costs and taxes in many of these states are also sky-high.
The horrendous weather
We told you winter was coming to the North — and it’s so bad that many people are leaving the Northeast in search of better weather. Indeed, the largest migration between states is from New York to Florida, according to data from the Census Bureau. And simple looks at recent winters in the Northeast explain why. For example, in 2015, Boston had its snowiest winter on record and New York City had one of its snowiest blizzards on record in 2016.
Just ask Karen Lanovi, a lifelong New Yorker who says she “left for better weather,” moving to central Florida 12 years ago. “It has proven a great decision for my husband, myself and our three children. We for the most part have a better life,” she says. The same reasons drove tech entrepreneur Jaimyn Chang out of the Northeast to Austin; he says he was “sick of the ridiculous snowy winters and bone-chilling temperatures” and “ the constant seemingly endless gray overcast days.”
Many companies are setting up shop in warm and less expensive places, which means that people pondering getting out of the Northeast can now find work. Texas, for example, has seen massive job growth since the recession — and some of these jobs are in fields you wouldn’t normally think of as being in Texas. For example, tech: Google, Apple, Dropbox and Oracle all recently built or expanded offices in Austin, along with many others.